Earlier this month, FoodMinds attended the annual Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA. The show attracted more than 65,000 registered attendees, including 3,000 companies. Here are the top five trends and takeaways from the FoodMinds Healthy Sustainable Food Systems team.
- Blue Foods: Also known as aquatic foods, blue foods include finfish, crustaceans, aquatic plants, algae, and other water-dwelling plants, animals, and insects. Blue foods are growing in popularity for their nutrient content and environmental impact. Smoked fish, kelp burgers and smoothie cubes, and algae infused beverages are just a few new ways blue foods are making their way to the plate.
- Front-of-Pack Sustainability: The biggest buzz around Expo were all things “regenerative” with several brands emphasizing their commitments via front-of-pack claims and seals like Regenerative Organic and Carbon Neutral. While these terms are not currently regulated by FDA, organizations like Planet Forward and the Regenerative Organic Alliance aim to create some consistency in climate labeling. For example, Regenerative Organic prioritizes soil health, animal welfare, and social fairness, in addition to abiding by USDA Organic certification standards.
- Upcycled Goes Mainstream: Founded just three years ago, the Upcycled Foods Association has grown to more than 200 member companies. With increasing consumer interest in food waste reduction, the Upcycled Certified™ marks highlight upcycled ingredients and products which leverage surplus food or food by-products in their recipes. This mark was prominent on sports drinks using byproducts from ultrafiltered milk, snacks using “ugly” produce, and condiments using banana peels.
- Global Foods and Flavors: While environmental sustainability grabs many of the headlines, sustainable food systems must also be inclusive of communities’ cultures and traditions. From salsa macha, sisig, and tepache products to yuzu and calamansi flavored candies, snacks, and beverages, globally-inspired flavors made a big splash. According to Datassential, Asian- and Latin-American-inspired flavors comprise 60% of the top 10 flavor trends for 2023 – we’re excited to see more of these foods in our grocery stores soon.
- Plant-Based 2.0: Consumer interest in adding more plants to the plate continues to grow. Hot off FDA’s new ruling on plant-based labeling, brands at Expo took the plant-based wave to a new level with several new chicken and seafood alternatives, and innovations in plant-based eggs and milks featuring almonds, coconut, chickpeas and mushrooms.
Regenerative, better-for-you, and better-for-the-planet brands are growing faster. Understanding trends like these can inform your sustainability story and help scale your business. FoodMinds’ Healthy Sustainable Food Systems team harnesses our top-ranked expertise in food, nutrition, technology, and agriculture to help you navigate this dynamic environment. Connect with us to learn more.
Lauren Hoffman, MBA, RD is a Senior Director at FoodMinds, a division of Padilla, in our San Francisco Office. She leads the Healthy Sustainable Food Systems team.